Regarding the May 22 editorial "Convention as Farce" and a front-page story of the same day, "Kerry Ponders Delay in Party Nod":

In the past 34 years, only four conventions have had any suspense: those of both parties in 1976, and the 1980 and 1992 Democratic conventions. Americans do not need a party convention to tell them who the nominees will be. The delegates could vote in private (as the electoral college does), and we still would have the same nominees.

The conventions also have been made meaningless by television. In the 1950s the conventions were broadcast in full; today, coverage amounts to two or three hours in the evening. Analysts take up most of the airtime rather than letting viewers hear entire speeches.

Finally, I know of no law that requires a nominee to accept the nomination on the night that he wins the vote. It is a matter of custom. Maybe it would have been good to break away from some customs that were designed for a bygone age.


Silver Spring


"Convention as Farce" accused Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.) of "manipulating the rules" governing campaign finance, but no rule requires a candidate to accept the nomination, much less at the convention.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was the first president to accept a nomination in person at a convention, in 1932. Thomas E. Dewey was the first Republican to do so, in 1944.

What Mr. Kerry considered and then decided against is neither illegal nor immoral. But it would have been fattening -- to his campaign coffers. Had it allowed him to raise more money, it would have been because more people wanted to give.

As for the "cost" of which The Post warned, I applaud Mr. Kerry's creative thinking about how he could level the playing field given the unprecedented amounts his opponent has raised.


Boxborough, Mass.